You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

We Are the World

While eating my oatmeal this morning, VH-1 Classics played the 1980’s classic: “We Are the World”.  AH – memories. I still own that 45 (ah – 45’s….) because my Dad bought it for me. I remember my favorite part being when Cyndi Lauper starts belting out “woah, woah woah just realize, oh, that a change can only come” before Kim Carnes does her line. But then Cyndi takes control again with her “Yeah yeah YEAH yeah yeah” (and who knew she had such perky, bouncy breasts?)…I love it!

Still, watching the video today as an adult for the first time, I picked up on some things I didn’t notice as a child. For starters, when Michael Jackson sings his lines, he’s in a solitary, paneled studio environment with flawless lighting. Everybody else sings with three people per microphone in an enormous studio with people sitting around in the background. The only other singer with her own microphone is Diana Ross (Jacko’s friend…coincidence? I think not).

Another thing I noticed was Bruce Springsteen. Pay attention the next time you see the video. I mean, this is a song about starving people in Africa…yet the entire time he looks like he’s achieving orgasm. And he sounds that way, too. Check it out.

Finally, I started wondering if something like this would/could happen today. Sure, stars will band together for a post-9/11 concert or to work on a campaign for PETA…but I can’t see a group like that being created again. The most recent thing I can vaguely recall was that music video a few years ago where the artists wore blindfolds with words on them. And that just shows you how memorable that one was since I can’t even recall the name of the song (it was a cover) nor the charity.

There seems to be so much more rivalry in the music industry today. Artists (as they like to be called) are too into themselves to share the spotlight. I mean, Bette Midler, Sheila E. and the Pointer Sisters were part of “We are the World” chorus…but didn’t have any solo lines. Artists today wouldn’t accept that today (Hell, Bette Midler probably wouldn’t accept that today)!

Plus, while watching “We are the World”, I noticed that nearly all of the performers are still known today – 20 years later. There were only two faces that I couldn’t remember. Whereas performers today seem so disposable…flash in the pans, if you will.

Maybe I’m just showing my age?


  1. Comment by chris on August 27, 2004 2:23 pm

    the resolute anglophile:
    i always thought that USA for Africa was a cheap knock off of the original Band-Aid idea.
    i still think that We are the World is a dreadful song. cyndi lauper may have matured gracefully into a swan, and Bruuuuuce is still the boss, but Jacko is still yucky!

    but to the american music industry’s credit, as you said, most of our Artists are still around. i mean, does anyone remember Paul Young or Jody Watley anymore?

  2. Comment by matt on August 27, 2004 5:59 pm

    I recently saw that video. I never liked it or the song — but I took a great deal of joy watching as Cyndi Lauper sings and Kim Carnes just looks at her with daggers the whole time. I never noticed that in the 80’s.

    I have to say, tho, there was a Prince song on that album I liked. A friend had the tape and played it a lot. I think the Prince song is on one of his collections. I think I have it, but I can’t remember the name of the song.

Comments RSS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.